Blaxtair: life-changing technology


Machine operator at Colas Suisse, Luis Miguel Cardoso de Almeida appreciates the physical comfort and psychological reassurance gained from the pedestrian detection cameras installed on his excavator.

At 36 years old, Luis Miguel Cardoso de Almeida is a very experienced mobile machine operator. He has spent 11 years in road building, 8 of which at Colas Suisse behind the wheel of the same wheel excavator! It is a powerful machine but one that is riddled with blindspots, making it potentially dangerous for anyone entering its operating zone. Realizing this, in 2015 Colas Suisse decided to fit the machine with a video and pedestrian detection system that surveys the entire perimeter and will warn Luis Miguel if there is any danger of colliding with a pedestrian. “It has dramatically improved my working conditions,” he said, because visibility is very poor when youre in the cab. I often needed to stand up out of my seat and twist myself around to make sure that the area was clear.

Constant arduous checks

Perched up inside the cramped cab, it’s impossible to know at a glance, what is continuously going on down on the ground. Even with the addition of angled rear-view mirrors…it only takes leaning forward by a couple of centimeters, or changing the orientation of the arm by just a couple of degrees…and all the visual controls need to be re-adjusted, before being able to start work safely again.

Needless to say, over the course of a 9 hour shift, every day, the additional stress, fatigue and the wasted time, was considerable. After several years working like this, Luis Miguel had also started to develop back and neck pain that meant he regularly needed to visit a physiotherapist.

When technology changes lives

Luis Miguel can now feel the benefit of this pedestrian detection technology on a daily basis, quite literally, “in his bones”. Now that his excavator can see and detect, he only needs to glance at the screen to check his operating zone. It is still only an aid, but he knows that he will hear an alert should a pedestrian cross the safety boundary. He now feels he can concentrate on his task more easily and perform his maneuvers with peace of mind. “Whether its on-site or on the road, I can now work with my mind at ease,” he says. And at the end of the day, I can definitely say that I feel at least 5 times less tired and fatigued.”

Colas Suisse: http://www.colas.ch/

16 December 2016